Cooling The London Underground
With the London Underground, one of the biggest problems is cooling the temperature down to a comfortable and reasonable level. This would not only improve the quality of travel for commuters, but would also improve the reliability of the signalling equipment at these deep levels.
The biggest governing factors in cooling the Underground are the costs as well as the practicalities involved to do this.
Some of the potential projects being looked at were to use the underground rivers and air conditioning units. The problem with these ideas is that they would only cool the underground stations not the tunnel system as a whole.
Even after all initial costs of setting up the various types of cooling systems there would still be a large annual expense for running and maintenance of such projects. What would the long term sustainability of these projects be?
With the proposal that I am setting forward I believe that there are several advantages. These are:
Simple in design
Relatively low set up cost
Low running costs
Low in maintenance costs.
The biggest advantage to this proposal I believe is the running cost and the fact that it is based on being the most environmentally friendly way of cooling the Underground.
With this project, the environment would be the biggest contributor to the cooling of the Underground. There would also be no damage to the environment.
The proposal that I have is to use the Thames River as the cooling agent for the London Underground. This would involve using a number of large inter coolers or radiators set below the water line of the river.
The reason for doing this is because in the summer months the water temperature is always cooler than the air temperature. ( Drawing No 1)
By drawing the warm outside air down through intercoolers it would be cooled down considerably and then forced down to the under ground through a set of ventilation tunnels. These tunnels would for the most part be old or disused tunnels to get the cool air where it needs to be.
In the winter months though, the intercoolers may be raised above the water line taking advantage of the cooler air temperature. The cooler air being drawn through the intercoolers would be made even cooler before being forced down to the underground tunnels.( See Drawing1)
The only energy used in this process would be on the fan or blower units used to force the air down through the tunnels.
These fans or blowers would only require a small amount of energy and generally maintenance on such units are very low.
Although the design is very simple I am only going to outline the principle of the construction. As illustrated in Drawing No1, the primary design of the cooling unit is an intake duct set at one end. The air through the intake duct is drawn through a set of intercooler tubes and then up through the fan and forced down the tunnel system.
As the air passes through the intercooler tubes it is cooled.
The cool air moving through the tunnels can be regulated by restricting the air flow to force it to go where it is needed thereby maximising its use.
As stated before, because of the simplicity of the units they would be cost effective to manufacture and maintain as well as being economical to run.
Initially the units would have a lot of work to do. This is because over the years there has been a lot of temperature build up in the tunnel system and no way of reducing it. I also think that there has been a lack of adequate air flow through the system. With this system in place it would resolve both of these problems.
I believe that once a comfortable temperature has been realised then it would just be a matter of maintaining that temperature.
With the temperature of the river averaging around 16 degrees it would be an ideal way in summer to cool the air down into the underground which can get up to temperatures in excess of 40 degrees.
Further more, in the winter the air temperature can drop into the minus figures. This would only aid further in the cooling of the underground.
I believe that by the end of the first winter of operation there would already be a substantial reduction in underground temperatures.